From top to bottom, the Sacramento Kings are a big mystery, but there are several things we know definitively about this team. Whether coached by Tyrone Corbin or Mike Malone, some irrefutable truths about this roster remain unchanged. One is that the bench ranges from mediocre to awful, with nobody having any idea what any player is going to bring on a daily basis. The second is that the Kings make some spectacularly "special" mistakes at times, leading to a wonderful range of awful results like unforced turnovers and bad shots. Today, both weaknesses came together to deal the Kings another bad loss on the road to the Brooklyn Nets 107-99.
Corbin dug deep into the black hole that is the end of the Kings' roster to try to generate some production, but could not find any combination of reserves that worked. The Kings bench overall was outscored 38-19, with most of the damage coming in the second quarter where the Kings were outscored 30-16. Corbin tried all kinds of combinations, but nothing seemed to work. Derrick Williams and Reggie Evans was the first attempt at a frontcourt, which failed so miserably that Corbin turned to Carl Landry in the 2nd quarter and then Ryan Hollins in the third. Ray McCallum was woefully ineffective on the night, missing all five of his shots, including three wide open three pointers, which was particularly jarring given Darren Collison's foul trouble on the night. Landry, who struggled in the last game, was effective tonight with 6 points in 11 minutes. The only other reserve with an effective night was Nik Stauskas, who contributed 8 points on the night and 2/2 from three point range.
Facing a 13 point deficit at halftime, the Kings made several pushes to cut the Nets lead down, but could not catch their opponents due to the cascade of mental errors that followed. The Kings committed 21 turnovers on the night leading to 25 points off those turnovers, most of them of the sloppy variety that tends to demoralize a team. DeMarcus Cousins was simply dominant on the night, racking up 24 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists, but made some really bad decisions all night. Mason Plumlee went off against Boogie with an offsetting 22 points of his own. Unfortunately, Boogie also only had 12 field goal attempts on the night with only 9 free throws. The Kings did not consistently find their big man in the post, leading to all kinds of chaotic possessions. Rudy Gay had 25 points, but had far too many shots on the night with 21 for how efficient he was. The Kings must do a better job of finding Cousins in the most early and often.
You can see the frustration visibly building on the Kings' faces. Not only was the body language was depressing all night, Cousins even shouted Stauskas' head off after the rookie didn't move to the spot Boogie wanted him in. While the refereeing was about as bad as we've seen it all year, the team look like a rudderless ship lost at sea, and the team's execution and discipline is slowly funneling down the drain. The Kings' front office has to be watching this situation carefully; this is how locker rooms can be destroyed and relationships fractured for good. The Kings next play the Celtics Wednesday and if the road trip goes even worse, things could get ugly.
For the opponent's perspective, visit Nets Daily